Pelosi's party

Posted: Nov 15, 2002 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After an election in which Democrats lost control of the Senate, slipped further into the minority in the House and still control fewer statehouses than Republicans, it was time to regroup. Democrats were defeated because the election was dominated by a conservative president espousing conservative principles. Issues like homeland security, the Iraqi threat and lower taxes -- issues many Democrats openly opposed -- were popular with voters. Exit polls also showed increased turnout among religious conservatives and that the pro-life issue was key in many Senate and House races. Given the conservative trend, Republicans seem poised to continue their success. In congressional leadership races this week, the Senate retained its leadership team, adding the popular Virginia Senator and former governor, George Allen, as the new head of the Republican Senatorial Committee. In the House, Denny Hastert remains as Speaker with the effective Tom DeLay becoming Majority Leader and giving his Whip's post to Missouri's Roy Blunt. New York Rep. Tom Reynolds an energetic, working class pol and a rising star within the party will chair the House campaign committee. Democrats, however, held true to their liberal beliefs and rewarded failure. They re-elected Tom Daschle of South Dakota, whose only agenda as majority leader was to obstruct the President's agenda. The rest of their failed leadership team -- Nevada's Harry Reid and Maryland's Barbara Mikulski -- were also given another term. In the House, Democrats misread the electoral tea leaves and elected 62-year-old Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi hails from San Francisco -- where the Pledge of Allegiance is opposed, "alternative lifestyles" are promoted and American Talibans are spawned. Coming from that environment, maybe Pelosi believes she's a moderate. After all, her leftist activism is limited to such reasonable goals as appeasing Saddam Hussein, opposing missile defense, forcing condoms on Third World peoples and increasing taxes. Pelosi voted against congressional resolutions on Iraq, seeing "no evidence" that Saddam Hussein is a threat. Such views have earned her the endorsement of the leftist Council for a Livable World's PeacePAC. The far-left Nation magazine calls her "one of the most progressive members of the House." In addition to accolades from PeacePAC and the Nation, Pelosi consistently earns a 100 percent rating from leftist organizations like the Children's Defense Fund, AIDS Action Council, National Abortion Rights Action League and Handgun Control Inc. She's also a favorite of liberal unions like the AFL-CIO, the American Postal Workers Union and the American Federation of Government Employees. Conservatives who rewarded Republicans on Election Day are not as enamored with her votes to increase taxes, confiscate firearms and increase the regulatory burden on small business. Pelosi routinely receives a grade of "F" from the National Taxpayer's Union and NRA Victory Fund, a 2 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and 0 percent from the National Federation of Independent Businesses. It's hard to see how Pelosi will attract middle American Democrats by declaring that the United States "ought to be ashamed" that it hasn't ratified the U.N.'s pro-abortion Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. She has denounced President Bush's education plan and defended a San Francisco AIDS education program that was accused of using federal funds to promote homosexual activity. She has long agitated for campaign finance reform, explaining that Washington had become "a swamp of special-interest money." But that "special-interest money" shouldn't be confused with the $1 million Pelosi raised during the 2002 campaign cycle for liberals like Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. Pelosi added to the "swamp of special interest money" by creating not one, but two Political Action Committees. "The main reason for the creation of the second PAC," Pelosi's treasurer admitted to Roll Call, "was to give twice as much hard dollars" to favored Democratic candidates. Former Federal Election Commissioner Trevor Potter said "the law doesn't allow" Pelosi's attempted end-run around the $5,000 limit on PAC gifts. During his brief run at House Minority Leader, Rep. Martin Frost of Texas implored Democrats to avoid "moving farther to the left." In the Senate, Zell Miller of Georgia blamed the Democrats' electoral debacle on his party's liberal leadership. "It's a heck of a note," Miller observed, "when you have the chairman (Terry McAuliffe), the leader (Tom Daschle), and the titular head of the national party (Al Gore) who can't go to the South because they would do more harm than good." To that potent witch's brew, Miller should have added Nancy Pelosi. Giddy that Democrats made Pelosi their philosopher-queen, Republican Representative Mark Foley of Florida asked: "What's next? Barbra Streisand as DNC chairman?" She would fit right in. Barbra spent the last few months attacking Dick Gephardt by fax for not being liberal enough for her and her Hollywood cronies. But Barbra won't have that worry under the new Democrat leadership. And with Pelosi in charge, Streisand won't have Dick "Gebhardt" to kick around anymore.